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Palin E-Mails Show Her Combative and Engaged

Written by kumaran   // June 11, 2011   // Comments Off

sara palin

Alaska — In the three years since Sarah Palin stormed the national political stage, her brief tenure as governor of Alaska has often been reduced to caricature. Critics cast her as petty, preoccupied and disengaged. Supporters say she was a maverick reformer, a salt-of-the-earth true believer who bucked the establishment elite.

Yet what is clear in the 24,000 pages of her e-mails released Friday — completing Ms. Palin’s transformation from one of the most obscure politicians in America to one of the most scrutinized — is that her governing style was not necessarily an either-or proposition. Sometimes she seemed to be everything all at once.

She sought to be an encouraging leader one moment, lauding her team for a breakthrough on oil production: “You guys are doing awesome.” She could be distrustful and accusatory the next: “I can’t handle staffer leaks.” She would focus on the progress of substantive legislation, including supporting a major increase in oil taxes, but then become distracted by “un-flippin believable” criticism directed at her by a popular radio host.

Winning the governorship here as a what-you-see-is-what-you-get hockey mom from Wasilla, she won fans for her promises to break with politics as usual. But, the e-mails show, she nonetheless went on to rely on standard statehouse fare like ghost-written Op-Eds and supportive letters to the editor, even prodding staff to flood online opinion polls to influence results. She was also, in the years before her national emergence, more open to compromise and political dealing than her more recent image suggests.

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